Negeen Sadeghi-Movahed, 22, recently graduated from UCLA with a degree in political science and is the Associate Director of the Iranian American Women Foundation. Her passions lie in social justice, human rights, and the law. She hopes to pursue the aforementioned by attending law school in Fall 2016 to fulfill her aspirations of providing legal representation for under-served communities. Before her academic career at UCLA, Negeen held leadership positions at United Nations Association of Orange County, as Vice-President of Membership, and Network of Iranian Professionals of Orange County, being the youngest member of the Executive Board in the organization’s 29-year history. She was a writer for Fempowerment Journal, a collaborative blog discussing feminist issues in the millennial era. In 2013, she was nominated for the Rising Star award at the OC Global Women’s Conference and received an honorable mention. Upon attending UCLA, Negeen was highly involved in student government representing UCLA in state-wide and nation-wide conferences and elected UCLA’s first ever Transfer Student Representative for the Undergraduate Student Association Council. Negeen represented over 28,000 undergraduate students, hired and managed 30+ staff members, and advocated for equitable institutional change alongside UCLA administration. Throughout this time, she was also serving as External Vice-President of the Iranian Student Group at UCLA. Negeen is currently a IAWF staff member, Chair of the Orange County National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Action team, and active member of the Southwest Asian, North Afrikan Coalition, an collective she helped form in 2014. She has also presented at numerous conferences on education and international relations. Her analysis on feminism, education, race relations, and international affairs have been featured on Washington Post, Manoto TV, Mic, KIRN 670 radio, FEM Newsmagazine, ABC’s Nightline, BBC World Service’s Newsday, and Al Jazeera America.
- Issues Areas:
- Racial Justice
Campus: Washington College of Law- Washington, DC
Fellowship Class Year: 2016
SWANA is an acronym for the Southwest Asian & North Afrikan region and individuals who identify with the region through domicile, heritage, or otherwise. SWANA typically refers to the region from Morocco to Afghanistan (West to East). The usage of SWANA as a replacement for the “Middle East” is intended to create autonomy over a politicized identity. It is a way to distinguish the region in geographical terms, rather than “political terms” as designated by the West. SWANA-LA was founded in 2013 by a group of SWANA-identified activists who sought to create a bridge between college campuses and communities; additionally, SWANA-LA serves as an organized base for cross-SWANA community issue-based campaigns. SWANA-DMV will serve as a similar venue and resource for SWANA identified folks in the DMV area.
Featured Fellow Spotlight
1.What experiences/opportunities lead you to apply to the YP4 Fellowship program?
By working in the Iranian-American community, being elected the first Transfer Student Representative for UCLA’s student government, and engaging with the SWANA (Southwest Asian & North Afrikan) community in southern California, I have been immensely fortunate to come across incredible organizers and role-models. Through those experiences, I was able to incredible YP4 alumni who encouraged me to apply to the fellowship.
2.What social justice work are you currently doing in your communities, or on your college campuses?
Despite being preemptively on hiatus until law school finals conclude, this summer, I will be working on organizing the SWANA (Southwest Asian & North Afrikan) communities in California to mobilize around issues of immigration, anti-war, anti-racism, and more. During the academic year, I will be bringing my resources and experiences to D.C. to organize SWANA-DMV, a collective of SWANA activists.
Moreover, I was recently elected as an At-Large Senator at AU Washington College of Law’s Student Bar Association. I will be representing the student body in the aforementioned capacity; I hope to bring my knowledge on cross-community solidarity building and values rooted in equity to the law school space.
This summer, I will be interning with a judge to gain practical skills and tools to become an effective lawyer. Additionally, I will be working with an Iranian-American congressional candidate; we will be working on fundraising and engaging the Iranian-American community.
3. What are you passionate about/what motivates you to public service?
I’m passionate about the way justice manifests itself as love and liberation in our community spaces. Though it is incredibly difficult work to achieve, I think of the resilience of my immigrant parents and grandparents who persisted and succeeded in the face of violent, systematic xenophobia to motivate me.
4.What is the main goal you want to accomplish in your social justice work?
Though I acknowledge I will not see global liberation from hegemonic, oppressive structures in my lifetime, I hope to play a role in the dismantling those systems. Ideally, I would like to begin by educating the community and equipping us with the necessary tools to build upon the work that has already been done.
5.Can you give an example of how your YP4 Fellowship helped you accomplish something meaningful for your community?
It prioritized the concept of self-care as a form of resistance. I recognize that if I am not healthy, I cannot be there for my community as much as I want to be. Additionally, the fellowship afforded me the skills to assist in organizing actions that have taken place around D.C. and in southern California.
6.Tell us about a skill you learned through YP4 that you evoked when you were faced with a challenging situation.
The fellowship has given me agency to strategize and organize our next steps. In the Trump regime’s era, it is necessary to be organized at all times because your community can be under attack at any time. For Iranian-Americans and SWANA folks, this is especially crucial.
7.What piece of advice would you give to a current YP4 Fellows?
Do not speak for your community or talk at your community. Speak with them.
8.Can you summarize in one sentence the impact YP4 has had in your life?
YP4 has connected me with a community of activists who are fiercely dedicated to global liberation and afforded me tactical resources to carry out our work.
9.Where do you think your YP4 training will take you in the future?
I can only hope it will take me where my skills and my presence is needed in the movement.
10.What do you want to be remembered for?
Bringing the SWANA (Southwest Asian & North Afrikan) identity to the YP4 space.